Author Topic: The Road to Perdition, or how I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love MusicBrainz  (Read 13386 times)

Phaedrus

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Welcome back from the edge. :)

I spent too much time in Perdition, but I'm OK, now. I see your "$setmulti," and "$copymerge," and I realize I should run through the tags again to see if there are any others I need to check. In the excitement of my paradigm shifting without a clutch, I forgot I wasn't done looking through all the tags I wanted to work with.

Could you elaborate a bit what your 'date' part does exactly?

I had something very similar in my script. In fact, I had to check what I posted, because I thought I had pasted an older script. He's stripping out the Month and Day; if it's present in the %originaldate%, making that the "date" tag, and then getting rid of the "originaldate" tag in the file.
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frankz

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Could you elaborate a bit what your 'date' part does exactly?

Sure, if I can remember (I did it so long ago!  ;D )

When a "classic" album is reissued, MusicBrainz uses the reissue date as the year.  I want to have the album's original year of release in my "Year" column (I put things like [2017 Deluxe Remaster] in the album title in my library to differentiate between different versions).  So I use the "Original Date" to do this.  The only problem is, sometimes people put the full release month, day and year in "Original Date", so I only use the Year from that field if there's more info there (the left-most 4 characters).

Then I clear original date.  Not sure why I did this except that I don't use it for anything.
A smile is happiness you'll find right under your nose.

hiccup

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When a "classic" album is reissued, MusicBrainz uses the reissue date as the year.

Thnx. I asked because I am still contemplating how to address years and dates in regards to MusicBrainz/Picard.
I am trying out the Classical Extras plugin, which has some great features, but it hasn't (yet) implemented extensive handling of recorded/released/re-released dates.
So I might wait what the developer comes up with (it's on his todo list), or I might do some scripting for that myself.
But one small challenge I am having is learning how scripts, plugins, mappings etc. work together (or work against each other).

I might end up with some personalized scripts for non-classical, and deactivating them, and activating the CE plugin for classical.
The less scripts, switching, plugins the better, but that's still a bit of a challenge.

@Phaedrus:
You really stopped worrying?
So you have now mastered Zen and the Art of Metadata Maintenance.
I'm jealous.
Last Edit: December 23, 2017, 03:56:28 PM by hiccup

Phaedrus

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When a "classic" album is reissued, MusicBrainz uses the reissue date as the year.
Dagnabbit!
@Phaedrus: You really stopped worrying? So you have now mastered Zen and the Art of Metadata Maintenance. I'm jealous.
I was Clean and sober until I saw the preceding quote.  :-X Seriously, though, I think I am.

I am going to go through all the tags on the "Tags Documentation" page. I'll figure out how I really want to use each one, and make a decision. But it's full-steam ahead on the rest of library after that.

I am relying heavily on the fact that once my album is tagged with the "MusicBrainz" information, going back through is a snap. Based on experience going through the same couple hundred albums several times, I trust this to be the case.

(Barring losing MusicBrainz information, of course.) The worst thing that can happen is that I may miss a few tracks here and there when I create my auto-playlists. I figure I have a pretty good idea what should be where, so if it doesn't show up, I can search for it, figure out why, and fix the individual album. I oughta be able to figure out how to fix it with my MusicBrainz script, and re-process albums. Then, when I find the next one, I'll already have a solution. Easy-Peasy.

Now, I do have some "albums" which I won't run through MusicBrainz. I have a bunch of compilations which I won't run through because I don't care so much, and it would be too hard to re-create what I want in them. These are all pretty much taken care of already. I have a system to fix the tags on these, and I don't get new ones very often.

I have come to the realization that my library will always be a journey. Now that I have found a solid, easy to use "home base," if you will, I can spend my time exploring what I have instead of spending my time preparing for the trip.

And, now that I have realized the sound of one hand clapping, I must return to my perch on the mountaintop. Feel free to visit anytime. ;)
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hiccup

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Just a random brain pop-up, and maybe not applicable to your projected workflow/interests, but before running the Bulk through the Brainz, you might want to take a look at MusicBrainz concepts of 'aliases'.
Making some decisions about that beforehand might be useful and avoid some time wasting later on.
This makes it possible to get some uniformity in artists names, and is especially useful in getting some uniformity in stuff like this:
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/9ddd7abc-9e1b-471d-8031-583bc6bc8be9/aliases

Phaedrus

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Just a random brain pop-up, and maybe not applicable to your projected workflow/interests, but before running the Bulk through the Brainz, you might want to take a look at MusicBrainz concepts of 'aliases'.

Hadn't really put much thought into this right now. Hmmm, If I could get my "ABBA" albums tagged properly as; "ᗅᗺᗷᗅ," that would be pretty cool... I do have a few artists that would be affected by aliases. I have a pretty good idea who they are and what I want them to be. I was going to handle that in MusicBee, but it might be better, as you say, to tackle it sooner rather than later. I shall meditate on this. Although I am leaning towards starting the journey, and blowing up those bridges as I get to them.

So, you have reminded me that I have totally forgotten about the cluster-puck that is the Classical portion of my library. I'll be using the tagging of my regular library as a training-montage to prepare for the opening of that particular can of Whoop-A**. My Classical tags there are FUBAR. Combinations of Composer as Artist, performer as composer, and all manner of things that make it impossible to search for multiple versions of the same piece. I do have one complete multi-disc compilation of Beethoven that I spent a lot of time getting straight. And now, I realize I set "Beethoven" as the Artist. Great.

As a "Brain-dump" of my thought process; I save my tracks to the path; <AlbumType>\<AlbumArtist>\<Album>\<Track#> - <Artist> - <Title>. That should make it easy to recognize strange, unexpected Album Artist names. It has in the past. Maybe switching that around would be good. <Album Artist>\<AlbumType>\<Album>\<Track#> - <Artist> - <Title>. Again, I shall have a good think about that.
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hiccup

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Combinations of Composer as Artist, performer as composer, and all manner of things that make it impossible to search for multiple versions of the same piece.

That's where the concept of the 'canonical' title ('work' title) that MusicBrainz has available comes in handy.
If you have that written to the title tag, you can more easily achieve some uniformity in that.

That can also solve some issues with titles differing between album releases for different markets.
E.g. Das wohltemperierte Klavier vs. The Well-Tempered Clavier, Le quattro stagioni vs. The Four Seasons, Symphonie vs Sinfonie vs Sinfonia, etc. etc.



I have disabled Picard writing 'album artist'
Especially for classical music they often result in a very long-winded summary of composers, directors, performers.

I prefer them brief, and usually have them something like this:
Fauré (Herreweghe)
Satie (Thibaudet)
Shostakovich (Previn, Mullova)
etc.

I haven't tried to automate that through scripting, because A. it's not a lot of work to do it by hand. B. In case there is no conductor, or his value for that album is not paramount (in my opinion), I will choose or add the 'main performer'.
That is subjective, and difficult to automate. (until machine-learning has reached the point it can do that for me)

Similar for album titles.
Beethoven, Bach et al. never came up with album titles, so I feel free to construct my own, short versions.

So for classical music I don't care much for accuracy or 'correctness' of tags such as Artist, Album, Album Artist.
Those are concepts that don't really resonate with classical music and it's compositions.
I try to keep them all short and simple, and only may have some purpose for them for occasional grouping or sorting.

Phaedrus

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That's where the concept of the 'canonical' title ('work' title) that MusicBrainz has available comes in handy. If you have that written to the title tag, you can more easily achieve some uniformity in that.

That is wonderfully helpful bit of information right there. I will be sure to keep that in mind when I start navigating that minefield.

I have disabled Picard writing 'album artist' Especially for classical music they often result in a very long-winded summary of composers, directors, performers.

The bulk of my music is non-classical. I'm a fan of the genre, but I don't get all the way to aficionado. I live and die by Album Artist. Once I start working over the classical, I plan to create a separate database. Hopefully that makes it easier to maintain

 
I prefer them brief, and usually have them something like this: Fauré (Herreweghe) Satie (Thibaudet) Shostakovich (Previn, Mullova) etc. I haven't tried to automate that through scripting, because A. it's not a lot of work to do it by hand. B. In case there is no conductor, or his value for that album is not paramount (in my opinion), I will choose or add the 'main performer'. That is subjective, and difficult to automate. (until machine-learning has reached the point it can do that for me) Similar for album titles. Beethoven, Bach et al. never came up with album titles, so I feel free to construct my own, short versions. So for classical music I don't care much for accuracy or 'correctness' of tags such as Artist, Album, Album Artist. Those are concepts that don't really resonate with classical music and it's compositions. I try to keep them all short and simple, and only may have some purpose for them for occasional grouping or sorting.

Pretty much where my head is for classical music. I actually have very few performances of each piece. Mostly, I find a favorite I rate, and the other one just sits in the library. (Losing, or destroying data goes against everything I stand for as an IT professional. I cringe when people say they delete tracks they haven't listened to.) I can tell you about the major differences between performances, but I'm not at a level where I could discuss the finer points of one conductor's interpretation over another anyway. All I care about for my tags is that I can differentiate between versions in my library. I also want to be able to scroll through, and see the same artist, album, track, etc. spelled the same way with the same capitalization.
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Phaedrus

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I went through everything, and I think I'm done pondering now. I have transcended and I am just going to let MusicBrainz run pretty much have it's way with my library.

I added this section in because I really don't like trying to think of artists by their last name. I also really really don't like having to think about groups that may or may not have "A" or "The" as the beginning of their name. I always mentally drop those. I look for the boys from Liverpool under "B" not "T." I had a heck of a time until I realized that for some reason I have to $unset albumsort first. all the others seem to play nicely.
Code
$noop(Set Sort orders to something useful)
$set(artistsort,$delprefix(%artist%,prefixes=A,An,The))
$set(albumartistsort,$delprefix(%albumartist%,prefixes=A,An,The))
$set(titlesort,$delprefix(%title%,prefixes=A,An,The))
$unset(albumsort)
$set(albumsort,$delprefix(%album%,prefixes=A,An,The))
$set(composersort,$delprefix(%composer%,prefixes=A,An,The))

The final piece is going to be how I import to Musicbee. Now, I send to a single folder from MediaMonkey using the "<Root>\<Album Artist>\<Album>\<Track#> - <Artist> - <Title> format. When I import to Musicbee, I go through each album, tag it as "Studio" "Compilation," etc. I rate songs I already like, and I import to the library by renaming files to my library structure which includes the "Album Type" directory. I think I'm going to get rid of the step where I tag it with an "Album Type" and just use the MusicBrainz "Release Type" instead of my "Album Type" assessment. My only concern is that I may end up at odd with what MusicBrainz calls a "compilation." I used the Wikipedia Discography to determine the album type, and I've seen a few albums go through that did not match that assignment. I'll just see where that takes me. It should also let me keep track of where I am in the re-tagging process.

I'm still giddy, I feel like a great weight is being taken off me with my library. All my experiments so far have had positive results. My tags have way more information for way less work. Artists and albums are way more consistent. I haven't actually gotten to my existing library, so I'm going to have a challenge there, but the only tags I'm really concerned about are my Musicbee ratings, and possibly my static playlists. All the Auto-Playlists should be no problem to tweak, and may end up better than they are now. A lot of them can probably be removed because most of them were about fixing inconsistencies instead of playing music. I had a huge stack of albums that were waiting for import because it was such a pain to import properly. I would just import the tracks I wanted into a separate folder so I could listen to the track I wanted. That changes, now.

Of course this will not be quick. Musicbee shows 6,753 albums. My "Separates" section which contains all the single tracks not associated with an album in my library will be a challenge, but I have them dealt with for now. I also have some "albums" I've created which, while they are realistically just playlists, I like having the files physically separated the way they are. Once I get my backlog cleared up, I can get to listening instead of tagging.

Now, maybe I can start getting a bit more serious about my DAC, headphone amp, and cans. Maybe I can even start realistically dreaming about being able to setup a usable system with Musicbee as the base. I have been kind of putting that off because I wanted my library solid before I released to the rest of the house.
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hiccup

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I also really really don't like having to think about groups that may or may not have "A" or "The" as the beginning of their name.

Ouch. You don't do that with book titles do you? ;-)

Just curious, what will happen with the band 'The The' if you also set MusicBee to ignore 'the' and 'a'.
Will that band get sucked into some vortex and disappear into an unknown universe?

Phaedrus

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Ouch. You don't do that with book titles do you? ;-)

My dead tree carcass books are on a shelf by order they were put on the shelf. My book library is limited to the books that I really love. All the "Fluffy stuff" books are on my Kindle, and stored however Amazon does that.

Just curious, what will happen with the band 'The The' if you also set MusicBee to ignore 'the' and 'a'. Will that band get sucked into some vortex and disappear into an unknown universe?

It's funny that you say that, because my last batch of albums would have included "The The" as the last artist. I was letting the files save from Picard, and figured I'd check my mail. I'll let you know. I'm also curious about "A-Ha." I haven't processed an album by them yet.
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Phaedrus

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OH MY GOD! My computer disappeared into a puff of logic! I'm typing this on my phone as I'm floating in a sub-space bubble surrounded by nothingness. I seem to have fallen into a wormhole.

Send help!
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Phaedrus

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Just kidding.  ;D  ;D

It didn't do anything to A-Ha. "The The" comes out as "The."

Phew, crisis averted.
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Phaedrus

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So, just as I thought everything was unicorns and rainbows, I've run into my first problem.

In Discogs, I found a few releases that I couldn't tag because there was a problem with the "release code." A couple of releases would let me use the code, but there were some characters that the plugin couldn't deal with (I didn't really pursue the matter. They were oddball albums I don't really listen to very often.) I also found some that weren't associated with the release on the page. I found work-arounds for both of these situations; I ignored them.

Now, I've found several releases in MusicBrainz Picard that will crash the application. Lovely. I just spent several hours tracking this down, because I've found several, and I'm still just getting started. I've only processed a hundred and some-odd albums! So I posted a pretty detailed post about my issue, and I'll see what the community comes up with.

In the meantime, I guess I just move past the problems, and keep on truckin'.

Maybe it's time to start trying to figure out my MusicBee process. I'll just push the clutch in, and see what gear I can find.
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hiccup

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About the challenge of 'genres' you mentioned earlier, and how yours got f'ed up somehow:
I let no software auto-fill the genre tags.
Not MusicBee, nor Picard, nor Tag&Rename etc.

When e.g. using Picard, I have the offered genres remapped to a custom tag.
That's very useful to get some quick and usually reasonably sensible suggestions, but I will decide myself how to populate the actual genre tag.
That keeps it more structured, and is also important because of the dependency that 'genre category' has on 'genre'.

It's still a ridiculous amount of work, but the whole matter is also quite interesting and useful to me to discover music and refine my tastes.